Conditions for skiing along the river were perfect. The air was cold and bright, and the snow felt smooth beneath our skis. Where the river narrowed there was water flowing alarmingly close to our track. Swathes of ice crystals glittered between solid ice and water. Birds flew low nearby, silently dipping beneath the water’s surface in search of food.

Open water by the ski track

Apart from birdsong the air was still and silent. We skied for an hour before resting in a fishing hut and then returned along the same stretch. It seemed a marvel to discover such peace and isolation.

There was a moment’s disappointment, then, when a figure came striding towards us. We were revelling in our isolation, so someone else on our track reminded us our universe was, after all, a shared one.

As we approached one another, the walker flung her arms open and exclaimed, ‘How wonderful to meet someone here!’

Indeed it was. It was truly wonderful to meet someone who believed it was wonderful to meet someone.